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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > high specific gravity
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:45 PM   #1
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Default high specific gravity

after success using a brewer's best kit for my first batch of beer, i decided to make up my own recipe for my second batch. i pitched the yeast last thursday, but the specific gravity is still really high now (after 6 days). it has gone down from 1.070 to 1.060, but i figured that it should go down even farther. recipe is below. keep in mind this is to create 2.5-3 gallons of wort.

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extract: 1 lb. Light Malt Extract, 3 lbs. Wheat Malt Extract (55% wheat, 45% barley), 1/4 lb. maltodextrin
hops: 1/2 oz hallertau, 1/4 oz tettnanger
yeast: belgian wit ale yeast (WLP400)

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Old 11-09-2005, 10:59 PM   #2
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Hm... 10 points in 6 days... sounds like a stuck ferment. Read this page on John Palmer's "How to Brew" site and see if anything applies to you: http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-1.html

One easy thing to try initially is to aerate the wort a bit by shaking up the bucket/carboy/whatever, and see if that gets it going again. If it doesn't, maybe pitch some more yeast; I always keep a pack of that $1 dry ale yeast around for just such an occasion.

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Old 11-10-2005, 12:24 AM   #3
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i thought it would be a "stuck" fermentation as well. but, there is a nice "krausen" on the top and the air lock bubbles consistently. given this, do you think i should add more yeast? i have some of the wit yeast left over i can use (it has been in the refrigerator since i pitched it last week).

bill

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Old 11-10-2005, 12:36 AM   #4
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if it's going leave it alone and dont open it for a while. the one time i had this problem i kept opening it to look, and although after 2 weeks it got done to a decent FG, i contaminated it in the process with bacteria or wild yeasts and it tasted absolutely horrible. in short, if it's bubbling, dont mess with it until it stops. yeast is a living organism and is just as unpredictable as you or i. it might be going fine now. if its still going after another 4 or 5 days i would transfer it to get it off the trub. there will still be plenty of yeast in the beer and the oxidation might get it going faster.

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Old 11-10-2005, 12:37 AM   #5
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Oh, the airlock is still bubbling? In that case I would urge patience... maybe shake the tank, maybe move it to a warmer area, although a temperature change could affect the flavor. If you set aside some of the yeast at the outset, maybe the small number of cells in the amount you pitched is making it take a while to munch through all the sugar. In general, one would pitch extra yeast if making a higher-gravity beer, although 1.070 is not such a stiff wort. Give it time; if it's not down to 1.020 or 1.015 when the kraeusen falls and the bubbling stops, then consider additional measures. Or... maybe not, even.

Edit: what drengel said

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Old 11-10-2005, 12:43 AM   #6
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Sounds like you just have a slow starting fermentation.

What method did you use to pitch the yeast?
How long did it take before you noticed the Krausen?
Did you aerate the wort and what temp was the wort when you pitched?

I'd leave it for now. It will probably be done in a few more days.

And you could add the rest of the yeast (once hydrated) if you feel it's necessary.

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Old 11-10-2005, 02:21 AM   #7
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Yup! As long as it's bubbling, leave it be. My current porter did nothing for three days, went from 1051 to 1020 in 24 hours and is sitting there like a warm coors now. Aggravating, but completely normal.

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Old 11-10-2005, 02:57 AM   #8
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thanks for the help. i definitely have been bitten by the "bug"!

- What method did you use to pitch the yeast?
it's a liquid yeast, so i brought it to room temp before pitching it. i added it to the wort stream as i poured the wort from the boiling pot to the fermentation vat.

- How long did it take before you noticed the Krausen?
i pitched on thursday, then went out of town. the krausen was there sunday when i came back.

- Did you aerate the wort and what temp was the wort when you pitched?
yes, i aerated the wort. it was about 70 F

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Old 11-10-2005, 11:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
it's a liquid yeast, so i brought it to room temp before pitching it. i added it to the wort stream as i poured the wort from the boiling pot to the fermentation vat.

Liquid yeast doesn't have the raw numbers that dry yeast does. So they can take longer to get going. Might want to try making a starter a day before your planned brewing day. They double in number in about 24 hours.

Glad it's working out!
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Old 11-13-2005, 01:46 AM   #10
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thanks for the help guys. the fermentation is now going very well. i think it's going to be done soon.

bill

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